First job; what do I need to do over the summer? 

First of all congratulations – well done on getting your first teaching job! I know you probably a bag of emotions – excited, delighted, proud, relieved, and probably feeling a bit anxious about September.

I’ve received a number of messages from people who will be starting their first teaching job in September wondering what to do to prepare for their new job.

FIRST JOB

Take a break

take a break

I think the most important thing to do is take a break. You have probably just finished college/ spent the year subbing so you deserve some time off. Don’t spend your whole summer planning and organising as by September you will be exhausted and you will burn out by the October mid-term.

I found out about my first teaching job (teaching 5th class) 3 days before school started so there really is no need to panic.

I would only do 1/2 hours a week for July and then you can start properly in the last 2 weeks of August. Most schools will be open at this stage so you’ll be able to go in and organise your classroom then.

Planning

Become familiar with the curriculum – what should the children be learning during the year? When planning I find it easiest to start with Literacy and Numeracy. I always use the Literacy and Numeracy books – most of these come with a scheme of work for the year which will be a perfect starting point for your planning.

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Then I google and use pinterest to find interesting ideas for the different topics I plan on teaching. Planning brainstorms also work really well for me as I can get all my ideas down on the page and then pick and choose what to use.

Classroom Set Up

Most classrooms will have the teacher books you need along with resources for different topics. There will more than likely be some maths resources, literacy resources, library books etc. in the classroom for use during the year.

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Fadeless backing paper is brilliant to use on your display boards as it really brightens up the classroom.

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Have a label for each display board – usually the subject name (especially for September – you can change this to a topic name during the year).

Decide what layout you want in your classroom. Do you want group work/paired work? You can use this ‘Layout Ideas’ to help you.

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You can pick up other bits and pieces from school supply shops in September when you know exactly what you need. Other teachers might have some things in storage in their rooms that they will share in September so there is no need to buy any big supplies yet. I always think its handy to have a couple of packs of cards and some dice for Maths as these can be used with lots of classes. Some ideas here for playing cards or here for dice games. I also usually have digit cards (just numbers printed and laminated which are also really useful).

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I also have a Language Box and a Maths box with different cards for group activities or early finishers activities.

Procedures

Have a think about the procedures you will use in your classroom. How will children line up? How will they ask to go to the bathroom? What happens when a child needs help? These are really important things to think about and make your classroom run smoothly during the year! Here are some procedures/ideas to get you started.

Other

  • Make sure your teaching council registration is in order.
  • You can apply for the DIP in September through the Limerick Education Centre you will find all relevant information here
  • Complete your NQT workshops at your local education centre.
  • INTO membership is optional – I have been a member of the INTO since I started teaching and I think it’s a  worthwhile investment. I have rang them a number of times about contracts, CID, summer pay etc. and have found them very helpful. They are also there if there is ever a major issue in school and you need advice – for example if there was ever a legal issue then they will be there for you.

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